How to Win Friends and Influence People

Have you ever wanted to learn how to be more charismatic? Trying to foster healthier and more meaningful relationships? Want to become a better communicator and get comfortable with people?

This book review will explain exactly that. ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie. There are 4 main chapters in the book, each explaining a few key principals.

Just a reminder that this is my way of getting the most out of books. Taking notes and trying to teach what I’ve learnt to other people.

*The bullet points are principles directly extracted from the book.

1- Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  • Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  • Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  • Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Let’s try and put these points into perspective. Whenever you criticize or complain about other people, you automatically put them on the defense. This makes it difficult for them to absorb what you have to say, since they’ll tend to find a reason to criticize you back.

Countering that, we should focus on what people are doing right. When we’re honest and lavish in our appraise, we soften people and provide a comfortable space. This makes it easier for you to get your point across.

Remember: the objective isn’t manipulation. You’re not trying to get people to go against their own will. You’re trying to minimize misunderstanding and adequately get your point across. The final point essentially talks about building up your ideas, by getting the other person interested in what you have to say.

2- Six ways to make people like you

  • Become genuinely interested in other people.
  • Smile.
  • Remember the person’s name.
  • Be an active listener. Encourage others to speak about themselves.
  • Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  • Make the other person feel important – do it sincerely.

All these points are essentially a summary of the final point. Trying to make the other person feel genuinely important. By trying these points, you’d improve your social skills and become comfortable getting to know strangers.

3- How to win people to your way of thinking

A lot of the principles in this chapter are quite self-explanatory. The key concept repeated throughout the book is that we each have ‘a desire to be important’.

“How you get your feeling of importance, determines your character.”

Ultimately, whether we are conscious of it or not, there’s a part of us that craves feeling important. Which is why so many of us enjoy sports, board games and just challenges in general. We feel a tad bit special when we ‘win’ or find a solution.

When you understand that the principle is universal, you can use it to aid people in feeling important. The following points are paramount in communicating effectively, whilst allowing the person to get the sense that they’re important to you.

  • The only way to get the best out of an argument is to avoid it.
  • Show respect for the other person’s opinion. Never start with ‘you’re wrong’.
  • If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  • Begin in a friendly way
  • Get the other person saying ‘yes’ immediately.
  • Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

All these principles foster your skill to empathize. You may or may not have noticed, but these are also key-points in developing emotional intelligence. “Judge people by their own values – not your own.”

  • Let the other person feel like the idea is his or hers.
  • Try to honestly see things from the other person’s point of view.
  • Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  • Appeal to nobler motives.
  • Dramatize your ideas.
  • Throw down a challenge.

We need to cooperate with other people by showing them that their ideas and feelings are as important as our own. Start the conversation with purpose and say what you’d want to hear as the listener.

We always make assumptions when speaking to others. So we should aim to assume that people are being honest and sincere. This will allow them to be more readily corrected.

Throwing down a challenge is essentially stimulating competition. Bring about the desire to excel & to win. After all, we love feeling important.

4- Being a leader

  • Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  • Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
  • Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  • Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  • Let the other person save face.

A few things here discuss how to deal with people making mistakes. We should first always start with praise. Nothing fake or insincere, but pay them genuine compliments before diving into the confrontation.

Another tactic is to mention how often you make mistakes too. We’re not infallible, we too make mistakes all the time. This helps them empathize with us, making it a much smoother interaction.

  • Praise every improvement – even the slightest ones.
  • Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  • Use encouragement and make the fault seem easy to correct.
  • Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

We’re essentially trying to foster a growth mindset here. Constantly use encouragement and praise all that is working, instead of focusing on what isn’t. That’s not to say we shouldn’t try to help them improve, but by making clear how well they’re doing, it motivates them to keep doing more.

So we’ve covered fundamental techniques in handling people, different ways to make people like you, how to win people to your way of thinking and being a leader. I’m sure there are several aspects that you’ve already mastered and some of which you can work on.

Let me know which of these principles resonated with you the most (or the least). Feel free to share any ideas or thoughts relating to effective communication too. Thank you all as always and happy reading!


Let’s face it, this is something we’ve proven to be terrible at as humans. From saying what’s on your mind or how you’re feeling, to spamming emojis and swiping right. There’s just something about being truthful and vulnerable that we tend to struggle with, and it’s damaging not only to us, but everyone we interact with.

I’m speaking from experience here and I’m still working on this, so let’s dive in and see what we can unfold about the power of vulnerability and honest communication.

What is vulnerability?

The ability to be susceptible to physical or emotional attack / harm.” So how could that possibly be good for us? One of the essential tools when forming deep/meaningful relationships is having the courage to be vulnerable.

When we’re willing to risk being hurt, or to speak about difficult topics, we find much more value in the relationship.

The point is, when other people see that we’re comfortable enough to share things with them, it opens up a pathway for them to open up to us. Courage is an important word here because you need to be aware of your imperfections and be willing to share your authentic self with others.

Personally, I’ve formed the best and healthiest relationships through being vulnerable and talking about difficult issues. It’s not to say that everyone is going to be respectful and engaging, but when you do find someone who’s willing to be there for you or you want to strengthen your relationship with, just be more honest about how you feel and what’s going on with you.

This ted talk explains it perfectly:

Be your authentic self.

We often find ourselves trying to “fit” in, constantly trying to meet the expectations of our peers or family members. This is where I think problems start to arise, within yourself more than anything. The identity dilemma of who you are vs who you’re supposed to be.

When you can’t be your true self, you tend to communicate based on what will please the other person. This creates a barrier, which airs the gap for miscommunication. Constantly trying to satisfy the other person or just agreeing with them won’t create a meaningful relationship, it will just create a decent friendship.

It’s through being honest and authentic about our desires and interests, that creates respect and willingness to cooperate.

There’s a saying in Arabic that goes “Respect yourself”, which is often meant in a derogatory manner. But I think it’s a beautiful reminder to people to genuinely respect themselves, because that’s what will help others respect them and in turn form better connections. If you haven’t thought about it already, self-love comes into play here too. When you learn to love yourself, it allows other people to love you even more.

Watch your ego.

Our good ol’ arch enemy, the ego. Learning to deal with this and humble yourself is another crucial aspect in effective communication. When you’re able to put your pride aside and actually listen, it goes a long way.

Our ego tends to block up our minds, when people who are younger or “less” knowledgeable than us give us advice. We claim to already know what they’re going to say, since we have more experience than them.

However truthful that may be, it still adds to the communication barrier and makes it more difficult for us to connect with each other. So just notice when you find yourself trying to end or move on from a conversation, which could actually benefit you, because of your pride.

Real life > Texting

Sliding into the DM’s, sharing memes, commenting on stories, sending emails, group chats. It’s the new age of staying in touch and communicating. I suppose what we don’t realize is that we miss out on an important humane aspect, emotions.

We just can’t properly express ourselves through emojis; laughing faces and broken hearts don’t cut it. It’s not to say that there are no benefits to digital communication, it just makes it a lot easier to misinterpret and jump to conclusions.

I’m basically emphasizing the importance of effective communication, and that even voice noting or phone calls would be a better alternative. Of course nothing will be more pertinent than real life social encounters. Make time for the people who matter in your life, and engage as much as you can with them in the present moment. Don’t allow your digital life and character to ruin your real life.


Something I think many of us struggle with, is to just listen. Our minds jump to responses as soon as people speak to us, but it’s important to first understand what they’re truly trying to say. Part of communicating therefore, is cultivating the skill of listening and deeply engaging, without cutting the other person off.

A lot can be communicated through silence too, for connections are made with the heart, not just the tongue.

To put it all in a bundle, there are many degrees to effective communication. Most importantly, allowing yourself to be vulnerable to connect with people. This will have a ripple effect, allowing you to be your more authentic self, and hopefully more honest with what you say.

Don’t let your ego get in the way of your relationships, and always make time for those who matter to you. I’ll end this post with a common quote that we should really try to grasp:

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” 
― Stephen R. Covey